Max Verstappen said his victory in the Dutch Grand Prix was “not a straightforward race” after winning at home for the second time.Lewis Hamilton leading part of the race on a one-stop strategy, until a series of Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car periods changed the complexion of the afternoon.
“It was not a straightforward race,” the Red Bull driver said. “We had to push the whole race, of course with the Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car, making the right calls, always a bit of a question mark. But it worked out really well and once we got back to the soft tyres we had great pace again.”
He pitted for soft tyres during the final Safety Car period, after Valtteri Bottas’s Alfa Romeo stopped on-track. That dropped him behind Hamilton but he was immediately able to attack and overtake his rival at the end.
“Before that Safety Car I thought it was okay to [go to] the end with the hard tyres, even though we were a bit slower. But then of course the Safety Car came out and I don’t think we were going to keep it up if we don’t pit – so we went for the soft tyres,” Verstappen explained.
“But then of course I dropped back to third. Then George [Russell] pitted as well [from second] so I had a good run on the restart. We have a bit more top speed, so that helps to attack into turn one and from there on we had a really good balance with the car again.”
Verstappen was able to overtake Hamilton immediately at the restart, passing him on the straight down to turn one and then pulling away through the banked corner. “We timed that really well out of the first corner with the banking and then you could see the draft was quite strong and we got ahead.”
“It’s incredible to win again,” he said. “It’s always special to win your home grand prix, it was already last year. This year I had to work for it even more so an incredible weekend and I’m really happy we’ve got the Dutch Grand Prix.
He said the thousands of Dutch fans who had come to the event gave him “unbelievable support and I’m really happy all of you guys came here to support. Proud to be Dutch.”
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